Klunk, Solomon Announce $2.6 Million to Prep Tomorrow’s Workforce
Reps. Kate Klunk (R-York) and Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia) announced the Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) has allocated $2.6 million for the Schools-to-Work program, which was formed through bipartisan legislation the representatives jointly created, to prepare students for good, well-paying jobs.
“American manufacturing is on the rise, even despite the pandemic. The Schools-to-Work program is a wonderful opportunity for students to gain the knowledge they need for the jobs of tomorrow,” Klunk said. “When we created this legislation nearly two years ago, the pandemic and the ensuing economic downturn was not even on our minds. This educational program will be an integral part to rebuild our great Commonwealth and the lives of Pennsylvania workers.”
Schools-to-Work grants will be awarded and funded competitively in increments up to $250,000 to create educational opportunities for students that will include classroom training, workplace visits, internships, apprenticeships, mentorships, employment opportunities, job shadowing or externships. Proposals from applicants must focus on building programs that will fill current and anticipated labor market needs in a given geographic area.
The pilot program is based on a successful partnership in south central Pennsylvania between the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce, numerous Hanover-area businesses, the Hanover Public School District and South Western School District. Through their program, businesses are helping to design curriculum and investing in equipment for students to learn trades and obtain recognized certifications.
“It’s time we re-imagine workforce development to prepare students and youth for the future. Having spent significant time with young folks when I was leading a civic association, I realized that traditional, in classroom instruction doesn’t necessarily equip students with all the skills essential for the workforce. The School-to-Work program merges classroom instruction with hands-on, real life job experience. The $2.6 million comes at a crucial time as we work towards building our economy even stronger than pre-pandemic and investing in the workforce that drives it,” Solomon said.
Legislation, House Bill 796 of 2019, that authorized the program was amended into House Bill 265 of 2019, a comprehensive career and technical education bill, to better develop students for advanced jobs that offer family-sustaining wages.
The Schools-to-Work grants are funded by federal reemployment funds, which are used to support programs and services that assist individuals with becoming employed or improving their employment, such as job search and placement services, educational enhancement, job training and job readiness, and workplace skills training.
Additional details and the grant application for the Schools-to-Work grants can be found on L&I’s website. Grant applications are due at 4 p.m. on April 14 and the 2021 Schools-to-Work program will operate from June 1, 2021, through Dec. 31, 2023.
Editors Note: Please consider using the attached photograph with this suggested cutline: Reps. Kate Klunk (R-York) and Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia) discuss the Schools-to-Work program in House chambers on Wednesday.